Building A Successful Food & Fitness Content Business, Brand & Influencer Marketing & Getting Millions On Your Website Monthly with Social Media & Search Results

Building A Successful Food & Fitness Content Business, Brand & Influencer Marketing &  Getting Millions On Your Website Monthly with Social Media & Search Results

Building A Successful Food & Fitness Content Business, Brand & Influencer Marketing & Getting Millions On Your Website Monthly with Social Media & Search Results

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Hey, everyone, its Jenna Redfield Twin Cities collective

podcast. I'm so excited to be joined by Lee Hirsch today. Welcome, Lee. Hello. Thanks for having me. Yeah, so I'm so excited. We haven't I might have met once, at that Pinterest event years ago. And if you ever went to a Pinterest event, maybe it wasn't you? I don't know. Because you're like a food and fitness. blogger. I guess. I don't know what you call yourself. What was your title? I call

Lee Hersh 1:30

myself I'm either an entrepreneur. I, I it's funny because people ask me like, what do you do? And I it's like different and yeah, I'm but I tell people that I'm the founder of a food and wellness website.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 1:42

Okay, so and how long has that been going on?

Lee Hersh 1:45

So it has been eight and a half years? Yes. So I started in college. I started college foodie fine. In 2011. Nice. And then it progressed to fit foodie finds about a year later.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 1:58

Okay, and why the change? What could you graduated Are you were

Lee Hersh 2:01

well, I was about to graduate and the you know, social media and just like the online world was so different. And I like had this moment where I thought to myself, like what if? What if I'm still doing this? And I'm not. And so I'm really happy I made the switch then. Yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 2:18

cuz now it's a brand people know the name, you know? So you were kind of ahead of the game with I mean, a lot of people have come after you What was it? Like? Were you like one of the only ones at the time?

Lee Hersh 2:28

I think at the time I so I was really big into reading Healthy Living blogs is what they call them. So it was really just people sharing their like wellness journey more diary style, okay. And so that's kind of what mine started off as. And then as people started to consume content through like Facebook and just to the internet. Yeah, it morphed into more of a content based website. Yeah.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 2:51

So what were you on a specific platform has, how has that changed with your website over time? Sure. So

Lee Hersh 2:58

I started off on blogger. I think I was on blogger for maybe like two years before I switched over to WordPress. But I think things have really changed since the beginning. You know, it started off as more of a passion project. So there was no strategy. There was no business. Yeah. And it sort of just evolved as the internet evolved, for sure. So did you go to school for this or what was your so I did not go specifically to school for this. But I did go to the University of Minnesota for a Bachelor of individualized study where I my emphases were design Spanish and public health. Oh, so that's

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 3:35

interesting kind of combo. Yeah.

Lee Hersh 3:36

So do you ever do anything with those are? My first year out of school? I actually worked at Anytime Fitness headquarters on the social team. So I mean, since there wasn't really a social media major. Yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 3:49

same. I mean, I was a column major. But yeah, there was no social media classes or anything. And now I'm sure there is. But yeah, back then. For sure not but so you started over website. How did you get like, viewers? How did you promote yourself kind of even before Instagram? Yeah, so

Lee Hersh 4:07

I Pinterest was like my big thing back in the day. I remember one of my college final papers was on how Pinterest was going to be the next Google. And so I think Pinterest is kind of what helped me get to where I am like way back when and then I started exploring other social platforms, like Facebook, and Instagram and all that stuff. So

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 4:28

how have you seen? Is Pinterest still as big? Or what you were predicted? Or what what do you see Pinterest has now for your brand specifically? Yeah,

Lee Hersh 4:37

I think it is definitely a massive, you know, part of my business. I think now that I understand kind of how to get viewers to my website, because that's the end goal for for my business. I really understand Google and how that search engine works. Better standing search engines is really important. And that's also what Pinterest is. Yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 4:59

for sure. Lot of people think it's social media, but it's actually more search driven. Yes. How do you so how many, how many pins do you do? Like what is your Pinterest strategy for your current?

Lee Hersh 5:09

Sure. So, um, so well, first of all, we're a team of three outfits. Okay. So, Lindley, manages Pinterest and Facebook. So she's kind of like our Pinterest guru. But we I want to say that we're pinning right now, like 30 to 50 people a day, the majority is our content. And right now we're really focusing on video just because they just really love that. And I mean, video is supposed to be the most everything. And so we're uploading four by five videos. Okay. And square. And actually, we're testing. Oh, nice. Yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 5:43

I haven't really done much video on Pinterest. Yeah. So did that recently launched or a few months ago? Yes, I haven't. I haven't seen that too much. But I haven't been on Pinterest in a few. Yes. I feel like so because you also do in so are you the one doing all your Instagram then? Yes. Yep. So you're 100% do that. Yes. So is a lot of the content the same on both? Or is it different? Yeah.

Lee Hersh 6:04

So I guess I can, should I give you a little overview? Yeah. Okay, so um, so when I tell people, I run a content based website. So I like to tell people that we're creating this like healthy food hub where people can come to just explore, get inspired, and learn how to make healthy food tastes good. And so at the end of the day, our goal is to drive traffic to our website, because the majority of the money that we make is off ads. And so obviously, Pinterest, and well, Google's our number one, followed by Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. And so using social media platforms to drive people back to our website is kind of like the number one goal, I would say. But with Instagram, specifically, I guess we're sort of moving in a different direction with Instagram. It used to be like this big driver back to the website. But now it's sort of like its own micro platform. And we are starting to get a lot more work just on Instagram specific with different brands. Yeah, like that.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 7:05

I think the pinch? Well, it's harder on Instagram to get more traffic to your website, because they don't have links in every post. Yes. So I think Pinterest has been great for getting more traffic to websites. Well, Instagram is almost a more of a personal brand and itself, right? Do you work with a lot of brands? How does that work?

Lee Hersh 7:20

Yes, we do work with lots of brands. So we've been really lucky. Since we're eight and a half years old, we have just a lot of really good relationships from the get go with different agencies and brands. And so I guess our big partners last year were Mick lobe ultra ancestry DNA, which was

silk, almond milk and Nike. Wow.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 7:46

Great, like big brands? Yeah. You know, it's interesting, because a lot of the people around here, they just go with like the local brands. Yeah, cool that you were like, kind of like it? is most of your brand based here in terms of followers? Or is that kind of all over the world?

Lee Hersh 8:00

It's all over the world. So foodie finds.com we get around like 2.5 million page views monthly. And then Instagram, I think only 2% is local, basically Annapolis, and then the rest is

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 8:12

like worldwide. Oh, that's interesting. Yeah, I know that. I assumed I was good, because you have a much larger following than I would say most of the food bloggers on here. And I think a lot of food bloggers focus on local. Yeah. So I feel like it's cool that you're kind of more of an international yet food blogger, which is so cool. And I I don't know anything about food blogging. So that's I had, like, have so many questions. But how so? Did you know when you first started? How did you did you know how to do foot photography? Did you know how to cook? Like, how? How did? How did you get started with that?

Lee Hersh 8:43

Sure. So I've always been just fascinated by cooking and making my own meals. And in college, I got really into health and fitness and all of that stuff. So trying to figure out how to eat healthy while in college. But I also fell in love with photography. And so I feel like I've kind of grown up with the defines, like, you can go back and see post from 2011 and see like, okay, I literally ate oatmeal every single day, because that's what I could afford. That's what I knew how to cook at the time. And my photography progressed, and so did kind of my skill in the kitchen.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 9:15

So did you just teach yourself photography? Or was it were you using a camera or phone or what? How did you do that? Yeah,

Lee Hersh 9:23

so I bought my first SLR in college and everything was self taught. So just taking like online courses. I remember my first course I took was minimalist Baker's one of their food photography courses, but just sort of like choosing a photo and trying to mimic it and just the amount of practice.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 9:42

Just help me get better. So what do you think, has been the best content that you create? Like, what is your most popular posts about or what what is the things that you're known for? Yeah,

Lee Hersh 9:53

I think it differs on Instagram specifically, I think people really love to hear just about like my raw health journey. I had multiple eating disorders in my early 20s. And just people love to hear my story. And

for some reason people love to hear like, the worst parts of your life. I don't know. Yeah,

I think because they can relate maybe so I'm an Instagram at specifically more just like personal posts. But then on our website, I would say anything like breakfast related?

oatmeal, anything with chocolate,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 10:30

you know, good stuff, what people like, yeah. So you do you make all do you do recipes? Or how is it more just like what you're eating?

Lee Hersh 10:37

Yep. So we do recipe development. Right now we're releasing probably for anywhere from like, four to six new recipes a week. Okay. Like I said, we have a team. So it's not just me, which is amazing. So Lindley is our head recipe developer. And so once the recipes are tested probably two or three times, then her and I are both in the kitchen together, styling photographing. And so that's really yeah.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 11:03

So how did you? Or what point did you hire sweetheart? Like, was it gross? It was a consistent growth. And then at what point? Did you hire a team? Yeah.

Lee Hersh 11:10

So Linda has been with me full time for five years, which is crazy. They think I hired her It started off as part time I was just like, you know, I think I think it's time I'm working. Like I had a full time job. I had just quit that I was working not then like eight part time jobs because I was trying to supplement income. And so she came on part time. And then probably like over the next year, I was like, Okay, I think I can take this risk and bring you on full time. And then we just brought Emily on, like, basically a year ago, but she was working contract for like two years. So it was kind of steady, but like, you know, it's a risk for me. And it's a risk for them. Because we do profit sharing. So they're on a salary and then they also make profit. They also make their bonus just based on like our profit. Gotcha.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 11:57

That's a really that's a really great way to do it. Yeah. So how so your main income comes from the ads and brand deals, I'm assuming is there any other ways that you do sell products or you know, courses or anything

Lee Hersh 12:09

lead not sell products or courses, I just had a business clothes called the healthy glow collective. Actually this past? Like February 1, we did fitness and nutrition plans. So that's kind of where we had like our e com and digital products. But right now we it's it's mainly just so last year was 60% sponsored work 40% ads, but this year, I'm hoping for a flip. Oh, geez with like the increase in page views? And yeah,

and taking less sponsored content?

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 12:41

Is there a reason for that? or Why? Why you want to change it back?

Lee Hersh 12:45

The reason is because well, I think I'm a firm believer in if it was 5050. That'd be amazing. Because I, I know a lot of websites rely heavily on their ad income. And I, you never know what's going to happen. So first 5050, that would be amazing. The thing about ads is it's sort of like passive income. Just because you're so we work with an ad provider. They're the ones who serve our ads, and they kind of do all the behind the scenes. So we're not working directly with brands. And it's just easier. You know, when you're working with sponsored content, it's pleasing the brand, yet creating amazing content. And we strive to have less than 10% sponsored stuff, just like all over.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 13:33

You want it to be more you're providing something just by being there. Yeah, versus having to promote someone else.

Lee Hersh 13:40

Unless it's a great fit. Because there is a lot of like, with our global sponsorship, it was more about the balance of healthy living feeling good about drinking a beer and working out and doing everything. It wasn't so hardcore, like, yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 13:55

drink this beer. Yeah. So does it fitness two, or because it's fit foodie finds, but it's mostly food.

Lee Hersh 14:03

It is from what I've seen, it is mostly food. It's morphed over the year. So yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 14:10

it's it used to be a lot more fitness. But now it's sort of changed into more food and wellness. Okay, however you look at that, so Okay, so when people follow you, what, what are the things that you talk about on a daily basis? Like, what are the what is your content about? Is it just the recipes? Is it about you? How often do you post stuff like with just you in the picture?

Lee Hersh 14:32

Right? So on Instagram, specifically, I would say it's, the majority of it is just his recipe inspiration. And I've gone back and forth with this. But on a business standpoint, Instagram does drive a lot of traffic for us, our LinkedIn profile and our swipe ups. You know, a single swipe up could get us 1000 page views, which is awesome. But posts like from the heart authentic sort of thing I would say to a week. Okay, you know, you know, it's not something I want to force in life. I'm not it. It's finding the balance. Like when does this make sense for me to like, share something that's happening? Yeah.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 15:11

So let's go back to you'd mentioned stories. How is that? How is that been a good thing for you? I mean, obviously just said it was but how has that changed since that started? And how has that been incorporated into your Instagram strategy? Yeah,

Lee Hersh 15:24

I think stories is the most powerful thing and like the universe right now, for social and just, just like business growth, we actually, so we do swipe up a little bit there. But that's really my day to day. I mean, people see what we're doing. They see us in the kitchen, they see me traveling at my workouts like I'm, I like to I'm a quirky person, and people will see that in my stories. And I think, you know, we have like this hardcore, like 20,000 view cult that like knows what we're doing. Yeah, all the time. Yeah. You know, like, we'll post a story. And within an hour, it'll have like, 10,000 views or any It's crazy. So stories, I almost feel like as its own thing, and then like in feed Instagram own thing.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 16:09

So are you incorporating HGTV at all?

Lee Hersh 16:12

A little bit, I sort of stopped, you know, it's one of those things where it's like, Okay, if I'm going to do video, so we have a video team. It's like, All right, now they have to cut a horizontal square of four by five and i g TV, a Pinterest. So it's just trying to find like the balance of Where are people watching this?

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 16:29

I thought, well, recently, Instagram TV. Now you can see it in like the feed as you saw that I did. I haven't uploaded I think it launched early this month. And I was like, that's genius. Yeah, cuz then you can click and then swipe up to see the full video. Yeah. Because I feel like the issue I have with HGTV is it's hard to get people to go. They're like, Sure, you can swipe up on a story. But you're just on stories. You don't want to like get all right stories, you know? Yeah.

Lee Hersh 16:54

And then for me, since I do create a lot of content, it's figuring out like, I don't think I want recipes to live there. I want that to be more like a q&a or

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 17:04

alive. Yeah, internet, do TV. Yeah. Because what I feel like, also, the hard thing about HGTV that I struggle with is you can monetize it, like you can with ads on Facebook and YouTube.

It could be sponsored, though.

It can be sponsored guests, but you can't make do ads on it yet. Right, which I hope they will incorporate which will see down the road. I hope I hope that that's something Instagram does. But so. So for business, what is your day to day look like? Sure.

Lee Hersh 17:30

The cool thing about my job is that every single day is different. We so we do a lot of things in batch. So we're going to be in the kitchen, we'll do four or five recipes. You know, we'll photograph four or five recipes. But I would say that most most a lot of the things that we do are behind a screen and a computer. So you know, just it's great that I have a team. I could not imagine doing this alone with the amount of content we're producing and just the brand that we're building. So Emily is our brand manager. She does all of our brand negotiations and just like brand relations, and she manages email and then Lindley does a little social. The recipes. I do like a mix of everything. And then we all right. So right now we've been doing a lot of just like writing and updating old content and making our site more SEO friendly.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 18:26

So you mentioned email. Do you guys do a lot of email marketing? We do.

Lee Hersh 18:29

We we do one to two a week, newsletter style emails. And that's with what platform we right now we just switched back to MailChimp. Okay. Yeah, so I've used before it's, it's,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 18:43

and has that been a good system? Or, you know, I

Lee Hersh 18:47

email is such an interesting thing. People, it's, it's trying to find the balance of like, where do people consume their content? Some people do consume it through email, most of the people around social, so it's trying to figure out like, is this still worth it? It's a lot of time, you know, to to create an email and to get, you know, clicks, if that's what you're looking for when a lot of things like on Instagram or even Facebook are just more instant? Yeah. So it's trying to figure out the pattern of like, where people are going

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 19:20

to do any ads, like on Facebook or no, no, no. All organic? Yep. It's amazing. Yeah,

Lee Hersh 19:26

so we've never done any ads unless a brand puts money behind a post for sure.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 19:32

Because I think that's a whole nother thing that we could, I don't really want to go down that rabbit hole. It's interesting, because like, I'm trying to think about what people that are just starting right now. You know, a lot of people are just cutting the ads right away, because they don't have a following. Yeah. Is that something that you see? Spend more time growing the following? Or should you just like, you know, yeah,

Lee Hersh 19:52

I think I get this question a lot. And it's like, I was just so different. When I started, you know, there was not a lot of people in the space industry game was not even I mean, was barely a thing. Yeah. And it just, it was so different. I think I would focus on creating really great content and playing the Google game. You know, putting time and effort towards social but like Google is, if you're creating a content based website, I think is the most important foundation of your business.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 20:21

That's really good advice is there. So we talked about search at the very beginning of the episode. So what are some tips that you have on Google? Yeah,

Lee Hersh 20:28

so I think just educating yourself on like, what SEO is, I thought I knew what it was. But over the last year and a half, I've taken a few taken a course by his name is hashtag Jeff, he's amazing. He specifies mostly in content, so lifestyle, DIY, and food, but really understanding how to write for Google. So I think just like one of the biggest things that like I didn't fully understand that was you can make a cauliflower potato soup. But people might be searching for potato cauliflowers zoom in like, at the end of the day that actually matters. So it's just like fully understanding, like, what does it mean, and how do you do it?

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 21:09

And it's also like thinking from the user perspective, yes. How does that impact your Yeah, like the search results? Yeah. So how do you decide on which ones to do? Like, yeah, you know what, vice versa? Those two options? Yeah,

Lee Hersh 21:23

we use a tool. There's a couple of really great SEO tools out there. We specifically use something called sem rush to do the research to figure out like, Okay, if I want to create a banana smoothie, like what are people searching for? Like, oh, maybe they're searching for peanut butter, banana smoothie. So it's like staying creative, but like figuring out what are people searching for and how can you get yourself in front of them?

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 21:49

We're going to take a really quick break with Lee and we'll be right back.

This week's episode of the podcast is sponsored by Jill Grunewald of healthful elements. Do you know someone who struggles with hormonal imbalances or autoimmune conditions, especially Hashimoto, hypothyroidism and alopecia, which is autoimmune hair loss? Would you like to understand more about your thyroid and how it affects every function in your body? I'm so excited to introduce you to this one sponsor, functional medicine certified health coach Jill Grunwald. She's a prolific writer who has been featured in the Huffington Post and experienced Life magazine, and even quoted in Oprah's own magazine. She loves to help her clients learn more about their thyroid health, as millions of women are undiagnosed with hormonal issues that are often traced back to their thyroid. Jill isn't just a coach. She's also a hardcore scientist when it comes to health and nutrition. She has co authored the number one best selling essential thyroid cookbook, where you can see for yourself that she's a total nerd about nutritional science as evidence in the first third of the book. She's also suffered from alopecia on and off for 35 years, and eventually became one third bald in her early 40s. She now has her full head of hair back and has developed a program for those suffering with autoimmune hair loss, reversing alopecia, which is also the name of her new book, which will be published in the fall of 2020. Her clients and course participants say that she's one of the best sources of hope and healing for the alopecia community through helping them learn to regrow their hair. If you want to find her cookbook and more head to healthful elements calm and connect with Jill. Now back to the podcast.

Alright, we're back with Lee. So

you are a local blogger. Do you like to do a lot of networking or what what does your social life like look like here for your business? Yeah,

Lee Hersh 23:46

it's it's interesting because I feel like

I'm not like super engulfed in like the local influencer scene. I travel a ton for my business I I get invited to a lot of events and if I said yes to everything yeah, I would be a zombie. So I would I would like to do more things locally. I just feel like most of like the events I go to are more national. Um, but yeah, yeah.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 24:18

Well, because I see that modern law on their on their feet a lot. Yeah, I do there a lot. Right. Yes,

Lee Hersh 24:22

I we co work space out of modern okay. Yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 24:25

cuz that I love modern. Well, we did our Pinterest workshop there last fall. And I did. Yes, mastermind there. Yeah. And love love the team there. So you do host some events though. Or Yeah, town? Yes.

Lee Hersh 24:39

So like last night, we hosted a cycle bar event. It's more like if we love your business. We're like, let's do an event so we can get as many people in your business as possible. I think the the power of small business is really important. So if we truly believe in what you're doing, like we will come full force for you. Yeah.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 24:55

tell everyone about you. And is it just finding them through social or how do you find these places you want to promote?

Lee Hersh 25:02

It's honestly it's like word of mouth stumbling upon them. somebody knows somebody who knows somebody. Yeah.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 25:11

So word of mouth is still such a huge part of social I think even like social word of mouth. I don't need to come up with like a word. Yeah. But But I feel like how do people originally find you? I know it's through like searching just and stumbling upon your blog. But obviously I feel like at least locally, a lot of people are like, know you and have heard about you. Is that through word of mouth? Or how do you think that is?

Lee Hersh 25:33

I think it's a little of like word of mouth and social word of mouth. Just people like tagging their friends or sending the story like hey, we did you see they were here. We should go there or so it's kind of like word of mouth. But like bringing that on to so yeah.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 25:45

Which I think is so powerful. Yes. I think it's probably the most powerful way of getting your name out. There is literally people I have a friend and she asked me for my business cards to hand out to her friends. Yeah, I'm like, that's the best thing ever. I'm not even doing my own marketing. Yeah, you know, so.

Lee Hersh 26:03

So with you. How does your does your team also market like on their own social or how does that work? Because they're because they probably have their own stuff as well. They do. It's honestly, it's mostly I'll just fit 30 finds. We created a parody account well to one's called Attlee's hands, okay, because she it was this running joke. She's the hands and all of our photos. And so we created an account called at Lindsay's hands and her hands talking. And then my boyfriend Mark created an account called fat food he finds just makes fun of us.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 26:36

Oh, I need to follow these. Oh, yeah, sorry. So where do you take all your pictures? Then? We do everything out of my home. Okay. Um, so yeah,

Lee Hersh 26:45

it's we don't have like this magnificent, magnificent studio. We do have a home office with like, all of our props and stuff like that. But yeah, we just do it from my house. And that's where you do the recipes as well. So everything. Wow. And is that in Minneapolis or? Yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 26:59

St. Louis Park Park. Park too. Great area. So what is your so so you have been just growing? Has it been consistent growth? Or was especially like on Instagram? Or has it just been like that? Or how does the growth have I

Lee Hersh 27:13

think it was pretty consistent. Last year was crazy. We grew by like, 100,000 Oh, my gosh, things have slowed down.

Unknown Speaker 27:19

Um, I

Lee Hersh 27:21

can't crack the algorithm. Honestly. I'm just like, you know what, I'm gonna stop by you know, like,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 27:28

sometimes it's a crapshoot. It really knows. It's like, yesterday, I put up a post and within 10 minutes, I only got like three likes. And I was like, usually That to me is a signal. It's not going to do well. Yeah. If it doesn't get like at least 10 of 20 to 30 and 10 minutes. Yeah, my crap. Yeah. And I'm like, should I say that? I'm but at the same time, some people like it so overworked up about that. Yeah, I'm just like, it's one day. Yeah, it might do really great tomorrow, right? It's always has there been one that's gone, like viral that you've been surprised by? Like,

anything? Or?

Lee Hersh 28:02

Um, I mean, yeah, we've had lots of viral posts on on Pinterest. And a lot of them are the long pin roundup style. Just because we have so much content, but on, it's on Instagram, it's hit or miss. You know, it's like, that's why you can't put your eggs in one basket. And there's people that solely run their business on Instagram. And that is terrifying. Yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 28:24

I agree. Cuz I, I have, we have a Facebook group. And then I have Instagram. And I remember, they were talking about Facebook being like, we're not going to promote something anymore, like groups or something. So I like freaked out and started a slack group. And then that died after like a week because I hate slack. You know what, that I was like afraid? Yeah, that like I was going to lose my entire audience if something happened to my Facebook group. Yep. But it's just it's so how do you plan ahead for the future? What what what does your business model look like? Or how do you decide what direction you're going to go?

Lee Hersh 28:55

Oh, that's a really good question. Um, so

we're all all over the place online. So we have a website that generates us income, we have an Instagram that generates us income, we could monetize our email list if we wanted to. So I think spreading yourself to the facets that are working semi well is a really good idea. And then if something's working really well, obviously putting more energy towards that. But so right now we're putting like, a ton of our energy towards Google and increasing traffic. And I think, since like, December, I think we were at like 1.3 million. And then in January, we hit three. So it's just like, it's for sure paying off. And yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 29:39

so I think that's so when it comes to creating your content. How do you plan out your schedule? Do batch like months in advance? Or is it how, like, how far in advance? Do you plan it out? Yeah,

Lee Hersh 29:50

right now we're, like, 12 weeks out. So we're planning for April.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 29:55

Okay. Um,

Lee Hersh 29:56

so you know, when people see, like, all you posted so many things on Instagram, and it's like, that's not real time. Everything is scheduled. Yeah. We're planning so far and advanced. And like I said, we do batch things just for time management sake. So like, I'm taking a two week honeymoon, and I'm going to be gone. All of that will be scheduled. You know, so I think it's for peace of mind planning. So far in advance is really great. We can move our, our content calendar around, we use something called co schedule. Mm hmm. Yep.

Um, but yeah, so we love working far out. Yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 30:33

brands don't. Really Yeah,

Lee Hersh 30:35

they all we because they want

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 30:37

it like today they do.

Lee Hersh 30:38

And they come with these last minute campaigns, and then we just charge them for it.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 30:42

That's a good idea. Yeah. Because I think a lot of there are some brands also that like, I know, target does like things. 18 months. Yeah, in advance, right. So it's kind of the opposite where they have like they're working with like, Joe and chip gains, and they won't come out until like two years from now. Right? Like,

Lee Hersh 30:58

well, it's funny because they do work in advance. But then sometimes I feel like influencer is an afterthought, like, Oh, we should get like, influencers at this event. That's tomorrow, you know, and it's just like, at the end of the day, I'm not going to drop everything to show up at your event for free.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 31:12

We talked about that last week on the podcast with Fallon. And it's, it's interesting, because, yeah, it's just so interesting, how brands, how do they fight? Like, are the brands that come to you? Or they're just some that are so off that are like, you know, they just like, find a lot of followers and like, yeah, just them is like, have nothing to do with pressure. And,

Lee Hersh 31:33

and like I said, we turned 990 percent at least down just because if it doesn't make sense, if you know, there's so many factors that go into us saying yes to working with your brand, some brands come at us. And they're like, we want to work with you on one post. But we want exclusivity in the yogurt cap category for 12 months. And it's like,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 31:52

Okay, oh,

Lee Hersh 31:53

well, for us, it's really important to like, not have exclusivity, because there's so many amazing brands, I don't need to yogurt. But if you want to be our yogurt sponsor, then sign up for a full year, and then we'll give you exclusivity. Gotcha. And then there's brands that are like this candy shop or some something that doesn't really make sense for us. Yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 32:14

it's interesting, because I, I feel like lately, I've had people be like, I want just an influencer in general. And I'm like, Well, what kind? Like you, you can't just say that, right? Because they might be completely wrong for your business. And I think that, do you have like, almost like brand guidelines set up for like, what people are even how they how they ask you kind of what does that how does that work? Or media kit? That kind of thing?

Lee Hersh 32:38

Yes, we have, we have a media kit in a in a pricing guide that if someone approaches us, we basically say like, you know, let's explore this opportunity this. This sounds like it might be a good fit, then we send them our pricing. Because I think you know, doing things for free is is a thing of the past. And we get burned all the time, because so many people still do things for free. And so some brands just expect that, like me getting invited to their event is like, benefits me. Whereas like, why are you inviting me in the first place? Because you want me to promote you? So it's like just this weird. Some brands totally get it? And like it's this two way street? Yeah. And then other brands? I don't think they're there yet. So we do we send them our pricing. And we don't always charge for everything. You know, like if you're a small business, and we believe in you, and we want to see you succeed. Yeah. But then there's other times where it? It just doesn't make sense. Yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 33:33

I think that it's it's just how it's changed so fast. Yeah, like in the last Instagram just kind of blew up. And now people are like, Oh, we gotta jump on that. So do you ask say I don't know, if you ever educate them? Or send them back like a message be like, sorry? Like, you shouldn't do this? Or do you just kind of say, No, thank you, or how do you respond to the ones that are super off?

Lee Hersh 33:53

I think just like showing them our pricing? Like our pricing guide is very thorough, like, we've been doing this for eight years. And I think they when they read that they're like, Whoa, like, they didn't just like make this last night, you know? So I think we do say like, unfortunately, like, we're unable to do like, this pro bono at the time. Like I said, if we said yes to everything, it would be a saying, Yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 34:15

I mean, you have to make money. It's your full time job. And you have employees, that's what I think a lot of people don't realize is how much work goes into it, how much your value is, right, and how much they're getting out of it. And it's like, if you are your own platform at that point, yes. Like sponsoring the Super Bowl ad, right. You're getting a lot of views on your content that's worth something right. And I think a lot of people either undervalue themselves, or they completely overvalued themselves. And they're like, Oh, I can charge like $500. And I have like, 200 followers? I'm like, No, you know, so I feel how do you figure out? I'm not gonna ask your pricing, but like, how do you figure that out? Yeah,

Lee Hersh 34:50

I think, you know, I think you brought up value. And I think that because every other post is not sponsored, like when we do have a sponsored post that does bring value, because people are like, she does believe in this. But what I think brings a lot of value is when there's four or five of the same sponsored brand sponsorship, because if somebody sees me eating this yogurt, they're gonna be like, she really eat that. Then if they see it four or five, six times, like, yes, it's integrated into my life. But pricing wise, I think we've just continued to increase as brands don't say, No.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 35:24

That's a great tip. Yeah. And do brands say no. And sometimes, though,

Lee Hersh 35:30

or sometimes they do say no, like, straight up. They're just like, this is how much we have for this campaign. But other times, it's like, we just, you know, they'll come to us. And they'll be like, we need this in two weeks, and we add our recipe they want for rights, we had our full rights fee. And before you know it, we just charge 15 grand for an Instagram. And it's like, they don't say no. So we're going to continue with this pricing. And yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 35:52

that's amazing. And I think that is just so I think the people listening to this podcast will just I think a lot of them are wanting to be you or be someone similar to you and have you know, the have what they are they love their passion project become their full time job. Has that been an easy balance of like, do I love this anymore? am I passionate about it? Or is it just my moneymaker? Right?

Lee Hersh 36:18

It's definitely an easy thing to get like last in. One thing that's really helped me as building a team. I mean, I'm working with my two best friends. Every day is so much fun. We feel like we have, you know, the world is in our hands like we if we want to create a campaign and try to get sponsored or how can we make more money? How can we maybe take some time off and take every Friday off in the summer? So sort of just setting ourselves up for you know, living a fulfilling life working hard? Yeah. And still loving what we do. Yeah.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 36:51

So you don't burn out? Yes. Like hated?

Two years? Yeah. Because that's why I think it's a steam because like,

that is a long time to be in business for an online company. Yeah. Eight years in a long time. Yep. Has that like, like, What keeps you going?

Is it just the

passion? Or is it the like, what what keeps you excited about

your brand and keep growing? Yeah,

Lee Hersh 37:10

I love business. I love seeing the growth. And I love creating strategy and implementing in seeing if it'll work, and if it won't, and I think just like seeing the growth year over year, it's basically doubled. You know, the last like, four years, like, profits doubled every year. And it's just been so cool to see that happen. And then with the healthy glow collective that I mentioned, so that was like a two and a half year venture that just sort of fizzled due to some like legal trademarking stuff that happened, which is unfortunate. But so it's not that we haven't been expanding in other ways that just fizzled. So we're sort of looking for like, okay, what's next? Do we? Are we comfortable where we are for a while? Or

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 37:55

what I want to do next? What has been like the biggest, like,

not failure, but like, and learned that maybe you want to warn people not to do? Yeah,

Lee Hersh 38:05

I think probably,

we redid our website last year, and we just worked with

a terrible developer. And I think just really understanding like, who you're working with really getting referrals. And doing your research is really important.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 38:23

So did you have someone else come in and fix it? Or was it more of the person or the actual website?

Lee Hersh 38:28

We're working on that now? It was the development team. Super unfortunate. But you know, you live in you learn, and we're moving forward. We've, you know, learned a lot about our website that we didn't know before. So

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 38:41

you know, so do you have I guess we can talk more about the website, like in terms of when it comes to like the mobile friendliness? Do you have, like, how does it function? Is it a blog? Is it like recipes? How do you kind of organize your website? Yeah, so I,

Lee Hersh 38:58

I guess I don't tell people I'm a blogger. Yeah, that's

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 39:00

true. Yeah. The funny thing is,

people don't use that word anymore. I feel it. Yeah.

Lee Hersh 39:04

No, I just think blogger to me is like, it's sort of like a degrading word. Because I'm like, yeah,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 39:09

it's like you just right. And yeah, I don't think it makes money. Yeah. Yeah.

Lee Hersh 39:13

And so that's why we tell people we're a content hub. So I mean, we have like a homepage, like, Yes, we have things publish, like, daily or whatever. But like our homepage is we're serving people the content they want to see. So we're creating a content experience. Whereas blog is you think of, like chronological. And so we have things from 4567 years ago, okay. It's still relevant, because it's seasonal. It's evergreen. Yeah, yeah.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 39:39

And I think that, that is so important. A lot of people just post for now, but you always think long term. How is this going to be five years from now? Yeah, exactly. How long term Do you think do you do you plan? Like, do you have like a five year plan? Or do you have like, kind of a business plan?

Lee Hersh 39:59

You know, I think it's hard to create a five year plan in this industry, because we weren't doing video two years ago. And now that's like a major part of what we do for our business. So I used to be super Taipei, like, I wanted to know what was going to happen, you know, 12 months, 18, three years. And now I'm just like, you know, what, we're going to plan for the next six months. And just like,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 40:23

do it as it comes, I guess. Do you do a lot of collaborations with other people that aren't brands just like people in the industry just to you know, kind of CO mingle with their audience as well. Yeah,

Lee Hersh 40:34

we I have in the past. So the healthy glow collective was a collaboration with ambitious kitchen. Okay, so she was born and raised in Minneapolis, but is in Chicago now. So that was like my big collaboration, that, but we've also done just like some other like co content, stuff with other content creators. Video stuff. Yeah.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 40:55

So if there's any, like,

tips that you have for someone, maybe starting today, whether it's on Instagram, Pinterest, on a website, what is like your current, I guess, strategy that you tell? I'm sure you probably get this a lot like someone's like, I want to start a blog or I want to start a business. What do you what do you tell them? Yeah,

Lee Hersh 41:15

I mean, there's not one, right or wrong way to do something. And so what I tell people is just jump in. I mean, it's not going to be perfect at the beginning, it's probably never going to be perfect, but you're never going to know how it works until you try. Yeah, you can't, you can google a lot of things, but a lot of things you just learned as they happen. And so I remember, like, when I was trying to figure out how to build a website, you know, like using my resources, and like, I built my first website, then I hired it out. So it's I think just being resourceful and reading and researching, doing.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 41:48

I think that's what a lot of people get stuck on is on part. And I'm like, you know, it just if you just get through it, and you're smooth sailing, yeah. Once you get your website up, and once you get things started, I think starting it is the hardest. Yes. And also keeping it consistent. How do you do you use like a, like a scheduler for Instagram?

Lee Hersh 42:08

Yep. What do you use for that? So we use later for Instagram and then co schedule for content planning.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 42:14

Okay. Because I think that that's super helpful. I talked about that at my Instagram growth workshops is like, you know, being consistent you post every day or an Instagram.

Lee Hersh 42:24

Yes, yeah, we post like, two to four times a day. Oh, wow. Yeah.

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 42:28

Did not know that. That does that. Have you found that that is better? Obviously, it is because you're doing it is that? Have you seen other people in in the blogging in the fitness and health doing that doing that many posts are?

Lee Hersh 42:41

I think it depends just what kind of content you're posting a lot of like the lifestyle accounts is probably not as much because it's all them. But I think fit foodie has never been all about me. Yes, that's my experiences, but it's more about inspiring people to you know, live their life balanced and

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 42:59

all that so much. Yeah,

Lee Hersh 43:01

just depends on kind of what your goals are for the platform

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 43:04

and how much time you have to spend doing and content and stuff. So well. Thank you so much for being here. I want people to follow you. So what are all of your handles share?

Lee Hersh 43:13

pretty much everywhere. We're fit foodie finds, okay, so on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and then fit booty finds calm,

Jenna Redfield Twin Cities Collective 43:20

cool. And they can email you if they want to maybe do a sponsorship

or something that you do where I mean obviously they have to be in your budget and everything. But that's that's something that you're willing

to do with with certain brands. Yeah, yeah. Well, thank you guys so much for listening and watching and I'm so glad that you're able to make it into the studio. Thank you guys so much, and we'll talk to you next week.

Thanks for listening to the Twin Cities collective podcast with Jenna Redfield Twin Cities collective

and make sure to leave us a review on iTunes. They again for Ian at Studio Americana for producing this episode, as well as Melanie Lee for designing the podcast art. And thanks to Nicole I had less for the use of the song in the intro intro. Thanks so much again, and I'll see you next time.


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Jenna Redfield is the leader of the Twin Cities Collective, the largest resource in the Twin Cities for bloggers, small business, entrepreneurs & creatives.

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